The more I learn, the less I know

There are many different versions of the phrase “the more I learn, the less I know” out there. This phrase is attributed to many brilliant minds, which is not surprising because this paradox resonates with so many people. One of the most important realizations a leader can have is discovering that there is always more to learn.

This paradox always reminds me of its inverse, the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is a cognitive bias where the less knowledgeable someone is about a topic, the more confident they are in their knowledge of that topic (i.e. the less I know, the more I think I know). While this is potentially concerning, imagine if we were all walking around with high levels of overconfidence and no desire to learn anything new. The bias eventually corrects itself. As people learn more about a topic, and realize how little they actually know, their confidence drops and they are (hopefully) motivated to learn more.

We have all encountered leaders who could use a little less confidence and a little more motivation to build their knowledge in different areas. In fact, our research shows that successful leaders continue to learn and adapt to meet the requirements of new roles and responsibilities. The ability to adapt depends greatly on an openness to learning, growing and developing their own potential. MRG recently conducted a study to explore the behaviors associated with demonstrating that tendency to learn and seek growth. Find out which other leadership behaviors relate to conveying an orientation toward learning and growth by reading the full report.

About the author

Maria is Head of Research at MRG. She loves a challenge and often gets a little too excited about running new studies. She finds peace and balance by cooking (as long as her husband is doing the cleaning) or being anywhere near the ocean.

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